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K9IR activations on Jan. 4, 2020

My second summit today was different from the alert I posted. I made a last minute executive decision to activate Johnson Mtn. W0M/SF-006, and not Buford Mtn. W0M/SF-002. Any Qs from around 1900Z on occurred when I was on Johnson. Bell Mtn. Bell Mtn W0M/SF-005 was the first summit I activated this morning.

Sorry for any confusion; I could not access the Alerts to update my change, and barely had cell service to occasionally post spots.

I will activate Buford in the coming days.

Thanks for chasing!

73 Paula k9ir



Thanks for confirming what I clearly heard you send over the air! I spent a little time after our S2S contact listening to make sure that you sent SF-006 and that I had heard it correctly.

But there’s more:

  1. You spent a LONG time calling CQ on 14.0615 with very few callers. I could hear you clearly here in CO on W0C/PR-118, but your signals didn’t seem quite as strong as usual today. I wondered if you weren’t spotted, and assumed you couldn’t or didn’t self-spot. When I got home, I looked at the spots on SOTAWatch, and you WERE spotted on several other bands but NOT on 20M on W0M/SF-006.

  2. The RBN Hole DID spot you numerous times on 14.0615 during the time period 1943-1956Z. I contacted you at 1950 by hunting around and finding you - you were 569 at times, QSB, etc.

  3. The RBN Hole didn’t spot you during that time period. However, other SOTA stations were spotted by the RBN Hole at 1940 and 2000Z.

  4. Your RBN spots on 14.0615 were numerous, from many CQ’s, but weaker than mine today on 14.063, and weaker than many of your other activations. There could many reasons for this, but it has nothing to do with why the RBN Hole failed to spot you, since the RBN DID SPOT YOU many times.

I rely almost totally on the RBN Hole for my spots. It is the simplest way to go on CW. 99% of the time I have callers within 1-2 minutes, if I post a correct alert, and if I do a half-reasonable job of setting up my station.

However, sometimes the system fails for reasons unknown to me. I call CQ on a band, in the correct time window, just like always, and no one comes back for several minutes! Maybe one or two stations find me, but then I end up calling CQ for many minutes, until a considerate chaser finds me and spots me, and then the piles takes off.

When I get home, I see that the RBN has spotted me just like usual, many solid spots, but there is no RBN Hole spot on SOTAWatch to match! Rarely I see that the RBN Hole has been down for along time, but more often, it seems that it was not working for a small window of time, just when I was calling and calling, often just on one of my bands.

In particular there have been several cases where I had great RBN spots and fine RBN Hole spots on 40-30-20M, and then OK spots on 17M, but NO spot on the RBN Hole, so no QSO’s on 17M, because no one knew to look there. Once in a while a sharp chaser is watching the RBN instead of SOTAWatch, and he gets me anyhow on 17M, and once in a while he spots me too!

This is exactly what happened today to you on 14.0615, for a LONG time, and I could hear you all the while, way out here, calling CQ, which is why I wanted to see if you have any idea why the RBN Hole didn’t spot you on 20M.

The RBN and the Hole spotted you 80M within minutes!!

Nothing is perfect, and I’m glad that the systems we have work fine 99% of the time.

You’re probably thinking “why didn’t KX0R spot me?” The weak answer is that I have no way to self spot. I did think about it though. Surprised the chasers weren’t looking at the RBN - they could have called you and then spotted you - but there was no clue that you were on, since 20M was your first band on W0M/SF-006.

I had this weird feeling up at 9900 feet - why am I the only one hearing this?? Paula should have a big pile!!

Thanks again for the nice S2S - it’s so easy just to tune around and find so many wonderful activators on a sunny Saturday. Like usual, I missed some good S2S when I was running my piles…

73 - CUL


Maybe changing the frequency ~1kHz might have produced an RBNHole spot for Paula on 20m? Just a thought…

73, Brad

I hadn’t thought of that, just a small QSY to see if that “spanks” the RBN into spotting me.

Of course, without much cell service, I didn’t know how much I was (or wasn’t) being spotted by anyone or anything.

I appreciate a system like the RBN. If it doesn’t work perfectly, it at least works well when it does, and really helps both activators and chasers. This is the first time where it really didn’t pick me up. Stuff happens ;-).

73 Paula k9ir

If there were RBN spots for the callsign on 20 metres but no corresponding RBNHole spots at all on that band then I’d suspect the activation alert window might be responsible? Within that window RBNHole should have produced at least one spot on the band just because of the change in frequency.

I can’t recall the time I had listed for the start of the originally planned activation, so not sure if the window had expired by the time I first TX on 20M. However, if RBNHole picked me up on the other bands, which I went to AFTER 20M, then the window would not seem to be the issue.

BTW I should have said I am appreciative of the RBNHole, however imperfect it may be (I also appreciate the RBN!) ;-). Everyone I try to recruit into SOTA always is impressed with the sophistication of the tools we have.

73 Paula k9ir